Sun Protection Is Vital!
It’s summertime and we’re taking full advantage of being outdoors! But when we’re outside we’re also in direct contact with the sun’s rays, which can do much more damage than simply giving you a painful sunburn. Gotham Skincare’s Medical Director, Dr. Bonanni, says that “prolonged exposure to sunlight causes brown spots; red, scaly spots; drying and wrinkling; and, worst of all, skin cancer.”
But how do you avoid the sun? That’s tricky. Sometimes, your day at the beach may turn out to be much more sunburned than sand-filled. If your skin doesn’t produce the protective melanin pigment well or if you’re exposed to the sun before enough pigment can be manufactured and dispersed, the ultraviolet rays kill skin cells. Even a mild sunburn that produces only a little redness destroys the top layer of your skin, just as if you had seared it with a hot iron.
Despite these increasingly well-known dangers of sun exposure, many of us, on occasion, get lazy when it comes to protecting our skin or just can’t resist the myth that getting some color from the sun makes us look healthier.
What’s The Risks?
What’s The Best Protection?
One of the best things you can do is cover up. The sun’s rays are most intense between 10am and 4pm. Stay indoors during this time, or if you must go outdoors, cover up and wear sunscreen.
SPREAD ON SUNSCREEN
Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Be sure to spread it on thick enough: Applying only a thin coating of sunscreen can reduce the effectiveness of the product by as much as 50%. Waterproof sunscreen is best if you’ll be swimming.
APPLY EARLY AND OFTEN
Apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before exposure to allow the skin to absorb it. Reapply every two hours — more often if you’re sweating or getting wet.
DON’T FORGET YOUR EARS AND LIPS
Too often, people forget to protect sensative spots liks the tops of the ears, the hairline, the “V” of the chest, the nose, the hands, or lips.
AND DON’T FORGET REFLECTED LIGHT
Keep in mind that even an umbrella or shade trees provide only moderate protection from ultraviolet light, and they don’t protect you from rays reflected off sand, snow, concrete, and many other services.
Doctors can’t say it enough: There is no such thing as a “healthy tan.” But while sunbathing is a no-no for everyone, if you refuse to give it up, remember to take it slowly and let your skin gradually build up melanin to provide protection. Never use tanning oils, which enhance the effects of ultraviolet rays and worsen a burn.
DON’T LET THE WEATHER FOOL YOU
Take care on cool, cloudy days. Damaging rays aren’t inhibited by clouds, and you can still get burned because ultraviolet light can penetrate cloud cover.